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Going out in Iceland was quite a funny experience. Iceland is considered Europe, and in Reykjavik the style is a mix of European and American, and going out anywhere else in the country, the people are just a little bit… hick? European hick, is that a thing? Not in a bad way at all, just sheltered and small town in the way that country folk are.
Going out in Reykjavik, its easy to meet as many locals as you do tourists. As blonde and blue-eyed, all the locals would speak to me in Icelandic, and treated me as a local, so they were really nice, but just as nice when they found out I was a foreigner, too. I only saw one Saturday night in Reykjavik, but it was really interesting to see the clubs come to life within the hour between midnight and one, and as any Icelander will tell you, everyone stays and drinks at each other’s places till about midnight because its cheaper, and then they go out until about 5am. That was very clear very quickly. Going out on Tuesday, we still had a great time, especially as soon as we found a bar with live music and darts. We played darts with the locals and learned their rules, and then met some tourists from New York and had fun talking about travelling with them.
Icelanders are really nice, but they don’t have much concern for personal space, which is fun and unusual when they ask to have a sip of your beer or take one of your smokes without necessarily asking, but they can also be a little bit pushy, as we noticed in both Reykjavik and Akureyri. Our Tuesday night out in Reykjavik we encountered a pretty drunk and pushy local who we had to dissuade from fighting, and a Saturday night in Akureyri, there was a younger drunker crowd that was a bit more oblivious and inconsiderate than the crowd we had hung out with the Friday night before.
Akureyri is a much smaller town so there was a lot more encounters with locals than tourists. We had a great time and everyone was really chatty, offering advice, local liquor shots, sipping our drinks, taking our smokes, and being a little bit forward. I thwarted most advances pretty easily, though, and I never felt unsafe. One guy, at the end of the night, tried to help me find my scarf after I realized it was probably stolen. I was rolling my own smokes, but he kind of randomly asked if I smoked weed, and it was 4am, so, naturally I said yes, and he led me to his house not far away. He introduced me to his dog, (that he said he paid 5,000 for?), we listened to more of the band that had played the concert earlier that night, and he showed me around this huge house. We watched the sun rise from his balcony and saw the rainbow, ridiculously clear on the mountainside, while we smoked and chatted. There was excellent art work on the walls and he showed me original and unopened hardcover copies of the comic Tintin. I don’t remember what he did, or why we were in this huge house all alone, or even his name, haha. But he was very sweet, and I was glad to meet such a nice and generous local. When we parted ways, I asked him if he wanted to exchange info, and he said that he would just come find me in Chicago.
Some very interesting times out and about in Iceland. The sun doesn’t always completely set, so sometimes its light alll night!